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Megiddo Valley | And Its Place in The Christian Tradition

Megiddo Valley has roots as far back as the Neolithic period, some 6,000 years B.C.; its golden age was reached in the ‘Bronze Age. And then gradually continued into the Iron Age, the age of ancient Israel.


Mount of Megiddo and Megiddo Valley: A Site of Armageddon and War

Megiddo Valley was a significant city-state in antiquity. It was strategically situated to look over the Jezreel valley from the southwest at the entrance to the pass through the Mount Carmel range. People lived there from 7000 B.C. until 500 B.C., and significant wars occurred there.

Twenty-six layers of ancient city ruins make up the tell (archaeological hill site) that is Megiddo today. Additionally, Megiddo serves as a significant junction for the highway that links northern and central Israel with the Lower Galilee. Less than one kilometer to the south is the current kibbutz of Megiddo.

According to some Christian interpretations, the Last Judgment will take place here. This is why the location can also be interpreted by the name Armageddon (which is likely derived from the place’s ancient Hebrew name: Har Mgiddô, “Mount of Megiddo”).

Which means the site of the conflict between good and evil (between the forces led by Christ and those led by Satan). Following the conclusion of the competition, the final judgment will begin.


History: a strategic place Megiddo Valley

The Battle of Megiddo (15th century B.C.). It was fought between the armies of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III, who besieged the city in 1478 BC, and a large Canaanite coalition led by the lords of Megiddo and Kadesh. This was the first historically documented battle: it is described in detail in hieroglyphics found on the walls of the temple of Thutmose III in Upper Egypt.

The battle was fought “in the waters of Megiddo” (i.e., on the Kison stream) in the 13th century B.C. by Deborah and Barak against the Canaanite general Sisera. The rain muddied Sisara’s chariots, and the victory brought 40 years of peace to the Jewish people.

The Battle of Megiddo (609 BC): fought between the forces of ancient Egypt commanded by Wahemibra and the kingdom of Judah. In it, the pious king Josiah, an essential reformer of the Jewish cult, was mortally wounded. In Jewish and Christian apocalypticism, his death symbolized the temporary prevalence of Evil over Good.

The Battle of Megiddo Valley (1918): fought during World War I between the forces of the British Empire, led by General Edmund Allenby, and those of the Ottoman Empire.


Battle of Megiddo Valley Egypt

The Battle of Megiddo Valley was an episode in the Sinai and Palestine campaign of World War I. The British army broke through the Turkish lines. Penetrating Ottoman territory as far as Damascus and forcing the sultan to demand an armistice.

In early 1917 the British army, commanded by Sir Archibald Murray and later by Edmund Allenby, had forced the Ottoman forces led by Erich von Falkenhayn and Otto Liman von Sanders to withdraw from the Sinai and the Suez Canal.

By the end of the year, the Allies had succeeded in invading Palestine, reaching as far as Jaffa and Jerusalem. Finally, in the spring and summer of 1918, the Allied offensive went as far as the Jordan Valley.

The ancient fortress of Megiddo controlled the northern routes to the plain of Esdraelon that connects the Jordan Valley with the table of Sharon (about 65 km beyond the Ottoman front line).

megiddo valley

Discover the ancient church under the prison

Israeli archaeologist, Yotam Tepper of Tel Aviv University, found the ruins of a church in 2005. It is thought that the church dates to the third century when the Roman Empire still persecuted Christians. A mosaic measuring about 54 square meters and bearing a Greek inscription declaring that the church is dedicated to “the god Jesus Christ” is one of the discoveries.

The mosaic, which depicts geometric shapes and pictures of the Ichthys, an old Christian emblem, is in good condition. This might be the first church relic in the Holy Land. Israeli authorities are considering moving the military jail after the ruins were discovered between its foundations.

A Roman commander named “Gaianus” is mentioned in an inscription in the chapel as having donated “his money” to create the mosaic. Some people question how a Roman officer would risk his position or possibly his life to construct a church. On the other hand, in the early third century, Christian persecution in the Roman Empire was infrequent.


A Tripartite Complex of Buildings at Megiddo, Egypt

Between 1927 and 1934, excavations in the VAT layer at Megiddo Valley also uncovered two structures used as stables. Five buildings made up the complex to the south, built around a courtyard with lime paving. The structures were then split into three halves. A central hallway paved with lime had two aisles constructed next to it. The arrangements were eleven meters wide and twenty-one meters long.

A row of stone columns separated the outer aisles and the main corridor. Horses were tied through holes in the columns. Also discovered were the remains of troughs that had once been positioned between the columns. Later, other archaeologists hypothesized that the structures might have been markets or warehouses.

Other tripartite structures have also been discovered at locations including Hazor and Beer-Sheba. However, it is still being determined what use those structures served. It’s also possible that similarly designed systems in other cities did a different function.


The importance today of Megiddo Valley

Today, this location is still so enigmatic and widely dreaded that the word “Armageddon” has come to represent and stand in for “the end of the world.” Megiddon (or Megiddo) refers to a fortification built by King Ahab (869–850 B.C.) that overlooked the Plain of Jezreel.

Its geological conformation appeared suitable for gathering (and controlling) a multitude of men, making it militarily an ideal battlefield. However, Armageddon is only mentioned once in the Greek New Testament (Revelation 16:16).

Hebrew for “hill,” Megiddo is a hilltop where once stood a renowned city that had been the scene of terrible battles from the sixth century B.C. The archaeological ruins of Megiddo, which date back to hundreds of years before Christ, are visited frequently by pilgrims.